Wednesday, June 21, 2006

God Annoys Me...

Can I be honest? I was thinking along those lines earlier while working on stuff for our middle school camp next month. He seldom does things the way I'd do them. He always knows it all. And there are times when I don't think he's even listening to me...but it turns out He actually was listening, He was just waiting for me to shut my trap and listen to him...

This afternoon, one of our seniors walked in to the youth center with a book entitled 99 Annoying Attributes of God.

Something to think about as we're preparing for our 'Jesus in the Park' gig for our student ministry tonite.'s been raining off and on for days. Again, not the way I'd have scheduled the rain if I was God.

God is annoying because He isn't impressed with what I try to do for Him.

God is annoying because His sense of mercy often gets in the way of my sense of justice.

God is annoying because He often thinks 'no' is a sufficient answer.

God is annoying because He knows all about my personal life and doesn't hesitate to bring it up.

God is annoying because He isn't worried about either of our reputations.

God is annoying because He expects me to keep secret the things I'd rather openly take credit for.

God is annoying because He allows the wicked to prosper.

The conclusion of the book says:
"So when all is said and done, is it okay to find God annoying? One old, battle-scarred warrior of the faith put it this way:

Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice. He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle. (Ps. 55:17-18)

Nice to know that while God takes everything personally, he doesn't hold grudges. He does, however, hold hearts--wounded, troubled, and annoyed hearts. "

I'm grateful he holds mine. And slightly less annoyed when I remember...


At 5:49 PM, Blogger scott m said...

You did notice, BTW, that evening, morning and noon were the times of set prayer? (The day started at sundown, so they are in order ...)

Just thought I would mention it.

At 5:43 AM, Blogger -tg2 said...

Scott, how would you square that with 1 Thessalonians 5:17?

Curious from Cut-n-Shoot...

At 12:27 PM, Blogger scott m said...

Hmmm. As a rule, I only feel a need to 'square' or 'reconcile' things where I sense or experience tension of conflict. And I don't see one here. It's obvious you do, or you wouldn't have raised the question. So I'm going to go out on a limb and make a guess about your perception of a potential conflict. Obviously, that's a pretty thin limb, so it's perfectly possible I'll get it completely wrong. My apologies in advance if I do.

It seems to me that the only way a conflict could be created would be if I thought that I had to pick between prayer at set times along with the larger body (in spirit if not presence) and continual private, personal prayers. And to me that's an obviously artificial dichotomy. They are different things and one cannot be taken to preclude the other. (Though I will note there have been many who have felt that Paul's various exhortations were to not abandon or cease the times of set prayer. That's not really my view because it's not what I see modeled by, among others, Jesus.)

So I see it as two things we are instructed to do. We are to observe set times of prayer as the universal church. And we are also to pray privately and personally. The set prayers order and shape our lives while the private prayers fill the gap in our intimate and personal awareness of God's presence. The two reinforce each other and, over time, without both, whatever we do in prayer tends to become dry and empty.

As importantly for me, this was clearly the practice of Jesus, what he modeled, and what he taught. Further, we can see in Acts again and again how it was the practice of the apostles (and how they obviously assumed everyone would do it). Further, it continued to be the practice of the Church in all its traditions, including Protestant, until the last couple of hundred years or so.

I do understand that our denomination doesn't teach both (thus my gentle jab), but I'm unclear why. I have a feeling (from an outsider's perspective) its roots lie in a reaction against the dry and empty repition of set prayers. But let's be honest here. Extemporaneous prayers can be just as dry or empty. The problem lies not in the prayer, but in the pray-er. Doesn't it? It's my perception that both are not only taught in scripture, but essential to a healthy prayer life.

Probably more than you wanted in a response, but I'm a wordy sort. ;-)

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Jimmie W. Kersh said...

tg2 and Scott m,

I have really come to appreciate each of you two so much by reading your posts here. I am glad you are in Tom's life, he needs good men in his life to come along beside him and hold him up to our Father.

I so appreciate your kind natures and theological insights. I can never say how wonderful it is to have men of God stand by one of your friends and bethere for him in the good times, the hard times and in everyday life.

Thank you so much for being a friend to my friend and therefore my friend as well.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger scott m said...

Wow, Jimmie. I'm humbled and rendered as close to speechless as I tend to get. Maybe we'll get the opportunity to meet in person some day. Regardless, thank you my brother. (And unlike those raised with it, I still don't use that label easily, quickly, or naturally.)


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